Meetings are being held throughout the Islands on draft rules to govern the Public Land Development Corp., an entity created by the state Legislature under a bill spearheaded by Sens. Malama Solomon and Donavan Dela Cruz to spur private development of public lands and could accelerate development around rail tarnsit stations and in Kakaʻako.

Projects pursued under the PLDC are exempt from state and county land use designations, zoning ordinances and building codes, including the need for general contractors. Conservationists and Native Hawaiians express concerns that projects might short-cut environmental and public review, while opening up “ceded lands” to long-term sweetheart leases.

Under the draft rules, the PLDC would be allowed to “optimize and develop projects” either on its own, or with a private developer. Eligible projects include those that “make optimal use of public land,” generating “a consistent and sustainable source of revenue for the State.” Though the PLDC initially was touted as a means of generating funds for DLNR, the rules do not specify that revenues will be directed to the DLNR.

Though the PLDC Board would meet monthly in Honolulu, at least one public meeting would be held in the community where a project is proposed.

The PLDC also would be authorized to issue revenue bonds to finance projects and purchase private lands “to sustain and preserve leisure or recreational enterprises within a contiguous geographic area,” under the draft rules.

Counties may be required to pay for infrastructure associated with PLDC projects, under the rules, which would also give the PLDC power to compel abutting property owners to build or improve sidewalks and curbs, at their own expense.

The Oahu meeting is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 29 in conference room 132 of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Kalanimoku Building, 1151 Punchbowl St.

Testimony may be emailed to [email: randal.y.ikeda] through Sept. 14. For more details visit http://[hawaii.gov]